NHS managers will have to pay up to £6,000 extra towards their pensions each year under plans mooted by chancellor George Osborne.
The additional money is the impact of raising employee contributions to the public sector pension scheme by 3 per cent, outlined in the spending review as a way to save £1.8bn by 2014-15.
HSJ has calculated the plans would see a top-earning very senior manager on a £204,000 salary paying around £23,000 a year into their pension – an extra £6,121.
For the average trust chief executive earning around £146,000, the changes would make a difference of £4,383 a year.
The average senior manager would pay around £2,000 extra, while an average manager would pay around £1,000 more.
The spending review states that “progressive changes to the level of employee contributions”, equivalent to a 3 per cent rise, will be phased in from April 2012.
It is not clear whether the government will impose a blanket 3 per cent increase across the whole public sector, or acknowledge many NHS employees already pay more towards their pensions than teachers, civil servants and local government workers.
Rash Bhabra, head of corporate consulting at consultancy Towers Watson said: “Making employees pay an extra 3 per cent would mean a significant cut in take-home pay for many, especially as this comes on top of the as yet unspecified increases planned by the last government.”
NHS contributions are tiered, with members paying between five and 8.5 per cent of their annual salaries.
This compares with 6.4 per cent for teachers, 3.5 per cent for civil servants and 5.5 to 7.5 per cent for local government workers.
However, civil servants receive payments based on their career average salaries, which the independent pensions commission led by Lord John Hutton has suggested should replace final salary pensions in the rest of the public sector.
At the same time, the government also wants to reduce the discount rate used to calculate the likely future value of pensions and the required contributions.
The spending review states the government will “carry out a public consultation on the discount rate used to set contribution rates in the public service pension schemes”.
The rate is currently 3.5 per cent above RPI inflation, which the Hutton interim report said was “at the high end of what is appropriate”.
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